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on 29 March 2009
I have been a fan of Roxy Music since 1972. One of our teachers at school started 'The Progressive Music Society' which was a club for sixth formers to share and listen to each others records. It was at one of these meetings that I first heard the eponymous first album and have been hooked ever since. Recently I started to collect their CDs to replace my aging vinyl collection. I wanted to find out more about these great records and my 'research' led me to this book.

In 'Roxy Music: Both Ends Burning', Jonathan Rigby chronicles the history of the band from its earliest inception, to the triumphant reunion in 2001. Every album is detailed with a song-by-song commentary which is both fascinating and illuminating. Solo albums and side projects are also addressed though not with quite the same depth as Roxy's records.

At first I dipped in here and there to find out more about my favourite albums. Then I read it from cover to cover. I still cannot put this book down and regularly use it as a companion when listening to the records. As a result of reading this book, I have had to buy many of the band members solo works, particularly the post '801 Live' albums of Phil Manzanera which I either missed or ignored over intervening the years.

If you are a fan of the music of Roxy Music, Bryan Ferry, Brian Eno, Phil Manzanera or Andy Mackay, you won't be disappointed with this super book! It's essential red hot reading!
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on 9 November 2006
This book is an intelligent account of Roxy Music and very readable too. It focuses on saxophonist Andy Mackay and guitarist Phil Manzanera as much as vocalist Bryan Ferry, which makes a refreshing change. The band's history is a complex one but is laid out with clarity and a fair amount of dry wit, while each song gets an in-depth essay to itself. Solo albums are looked at less closely than the band's own output but still with a critical eye, and stuff normally skimped on, like Mackay's 'Rock Follies' and Manzanera's work with Brian Eno, are absorbingly handled. Admittedly, readers seeking juicy gossip will probably be disappointed. Instead the author builds up a more interesting picture of the key figures - Ferry comes over as gifted but controlling, Mackay as cool and cerebral, and Manzanera as retiring yet enthusiastic. And the cover photo is a very clever pastiche of the slightly grotesque Roxy album covers of the early Seventies. Reading Rigby's analyses of those classic records makes you want to listen to them afresh, which is just what this kind of book should do.
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Having read Michael Bracewell's in-depth look at the Roxy Music story - 'Remake / Remodel', which takes the reader up until the release of their first album - I looked forward to reading Jonathan Rigby's book with great enthusiasm, and it does not disappoint. Rigby is scrupulously fair to all concerned (although he occasionally can't resist a gentle dig at Ferry's frequently ludicrous fashion faux pas and often daft career moves - deservedly so), taking care to illuminate and justly celebrate the solo and collaborative efforts of Mackay, Manzanera and Eno, and his painstaking dissection of all of the Roxy albums - pointing out such underrated gems as the track 'Tryptych' from 'Country Life', and 'Sunset' from 'Stranded', and even the somewhat throwaway 'B' sides of the early singles, for example, all makes for an entertaining, absorbing read. He also gets the tone right - where Bracewell was dry and analytical (but no less readable), Rigby laces his prose with humour, keeps it reasonably light, without blurring the focus. Crucially, it also reminds you of how consistently brilliant the band were, and how vital they still are, despite the remorseless repackaging of their catalogue. The band's progress from arch Art Rock innovators, through to their reformation releases, 'Manifesto', 'Flesh And Blood' and 'Avalon', where they became purveyors of elegantly tailored Romantic melancholia is magisterially realised. Rigby also puts the band very carefully in the context of their times, with much referencing to contemporaneous interviews - again, it helps to underscore the band's importance, then and now.

Of course, few bands have a story as endlessly fascinating as is Roxy's; I have listened again to their records, using Rigby's book as a reference point, and, beleive it or not, my enjoyment of their recordings has been enhanced by doing so. 'Both Ends Burning', despite having a cover that fails in its aim to pastiche the Roxy albums (it would've cost a fortune to do so, frankly) is a vivid and unstinting tome that warrants re-reads - well-written, lucid and endlessly interesting.
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on 4 January 2010
I'm a fairly new Roxy convert, so wanted to get a good general overview of their career and musical output and this book did not disappoint.

Clearly working off the 'Revolution In The Head' song by song template, this is a highly readable and thorough tome and was clearly a labour of love for Rigby.

Books of this nature are great for rediscovering tracks you may have initially overlooked and certainly for this reader, had me working my way back to tracks like Editions Of You, She Sells, Amazona, Just Like you and Remake/Remodel, as well as encouraging me to hunt through Ferry's early solo albums for a few hidden gems.

Great book, great read and highly recommended for Roxy fans old and new!
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on 28 December 2013
Happily, this book was written by somebody who seemed to love Roxy Music and its music. The author did his research on the main members, going through their Roxy work and their solo projects. He wrote in-depth about each Roxy song. I have a feeling he could have gone into greater depth about each track.

The first Roxy Music song I was exposed to was "Oh Yeah (On the Radio)" when it was released. What a sad, melancholy song. Then there was their final album Avalon which blew me away. For all intents and purposes, I was ignorant of Roxy Music's work prior to Flesh + Blood.

After reading this book, I came over here to amazon.co.uk and purchased their CD box set of albums. As I listen to each album, I am impressed. Of course, being an American, I missed their influence on most of the 1980s British music I listen to - and own. That is, until you read what the influenced artists had to say about Roxy Music (Duran Duran, Adam Ant, Japan...etc).

My one quibble with this book is how the author dismisses one of my favorite songs - Ultravox's "Vienna". Well, he is a fan of Roxy Music, so nothing can compare to Roxy; therefore, I understand his swipe at Midge & the Boys.

All in all, a good introductory book to Roxy Music and its music.
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on 8 June 2011
Provides some good insights into what's behind Roxy's songs. Includes all of their released material, and even notes where different versions are in different collections.
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on 5 October 2009
Jonathan Rigby's Both Ends Burning is an enjoyable song by song Roxy biog that mainly rehashes bits and bobs from old music paper articles but scores with his eloquent and amusing descriptions of the songs themselves, which do what all this type of book should do and send you tumbling back to the music itself; and has even convinced me, after giving up on Ferry and co following Siren, that the final Vaseline-greased-attempt-to-shag-the States Trilogy might be worth listening to - and, true enough, Manifesto already sounds better than I thought it would. While Eno, Manzanera & McKay come over as rather witty and characterful musicians, however, lurking over all is the ungainly shadow of rock's very own Toom Tabard, who stepped out of his tin bath in the garden into a sort of Noel Coward Wicker Man, sealing it up behind him and vanishing from view, tossing out some of the world's most beautiful songs about emptiness and some of its most empty songs about beauty and who, throughout the whole book, never says anything of any interest whatsoever. An odd fish, Mr F. Or perhaps Lord F, by now.
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on 6 February 2015
Fantastic book. Highly recommended.
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